Expected repatriation of over 400 Filipinos delayed
MANILA – The expected arrival of over 400 Filipino crewmembers of M/V Diamond Princess will not push through tomorrow.
In a statement from the Department of Health, it was learned the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) unanimously resolved to reschedule the repatriation of the crewmembers to “early next week.”
The Japanese authorities will be allowed to complete the laboratory testing of the 400-plus Filipino crewmembers aboard the ship and comply with the established Japanese quarantine protocols.
“IATF-EID is adjusting the schedule out of an abundance of caution with a view to safeguarding the health and safety of our Overseas Filipinos on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship,” the statement added.
It was learned the Japanese government has ensured appropriate health services are extended to affected Overseas Filipinos aboard the ship.
According to the same statement, the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo is working closely with the Japanese health and foreign ministry to complete the quarantine protocols for the Philippine Government to repatriate the Filipino crew members at the soonest possible time.
Sources said there were seven Filipino passengers aboard the cruise ship. From the original over 500 crew members, a little over 450 opted to come home after the required quarantine period by Japanese health authorities.
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease is co-chaired by Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III and Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. (Melo M. Acuña)
Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III (File Photo/Melo M. Acuña)